Funding resilience in The Gambia

In 2020, The Gambia experienced a severe impact from the COVID19 pandemic due to its high poverty and food insecurity rate. The Rural Poor Stimulus Facility Phase 2 (RPSF2) lent a helping hand in five regions across the country, providing cash transfers to 870 vulnerable households and 54 youths in charge of small and medium enterprises with training and financial assistance. This allowed 29yearold Abdoulie Jawara, who had lost his poultry farming business, to keep his head of household position and provide for his extended family.

The Youth

In addition to acquiring new marketing and business knowledge, the financial aid allowed Abdoulie to travel to Senegal and purchase 15 rams, which he went on to sell for the Muslim holiday of Eid AlAdha. This, he says, kickstarted a string of profitable business ideas, including raising sheep and pepper production. The donation really came at the right time, he says of the RPSF2 funding. Today, Abdoulie can feed his wife, son, and extended family, and pay school fees for his nephews and nieces.Life can be good for youths in rural Gambia.

The Woman 

Fatou Badjie, a 40yearold widow, was left to raise 12 children alone after the death of her husband and his second wife. The economic impact of the COVID19 pandemic made it difficult for her to make a living, causing her to struggle to feed the family. Fortunately, Fatou received financial support from ROOTS and IFAD’s RPSF2 which she used to buy school uniforms, books, and lunches for her children, as well as food for the household. She expressed her gratitude for the help.

Like Fatou, 43-year-old farmer Jankey Ceesay used part of the cash transfer to provide for her eight children, pay their school fees, and cover one of her son’s medical bills. She also bought a bag of rice to feed her family and a bag of fertilizer for her crops

“The fertilizer increased my groundnut yield,” says Jankey. “I sold part of my produce, we ate some and kept some as seedlings for this year.”

The Elderly

Jonfolo Ceesay used to be the family breadwinner until one of her legs was amputated and she had to stop farming for a living. I can no more depend on farming as my movement is restricted, explains Jonfolo, who is somewhere in her midsixties. The first thing she did with the RPSF money was to buy a bag of rice.The first thing I thought of is food, this was at a time when our rice had finished, she says. Like so many households in The Gambia, Jonfolo and her family live hand to mouth, and staple foods like rice are not always accessible to them. With the cash, Jonfolo was also able to pay for her roof to be repaired before the start of the rainy season.The money came at the right time, she says.

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